Archive | May, 2020

It’s a small sort of accomplishment, I suppose.

15 May

That, my friends, is a random quote from the most recent cinematic version of Pride and Prejudice. I don’t have it nearly as memorized as Lord of the Rings but it’s close.

It’s good to have accomplishments, even of the small sort. Here are mine of late:

I did it. I baked a loaf of sourdough bread with the starter I began at the end of March. I had hidden the starter away in the fridge, frustrated with its lack of growth. Encouraged by a friend, I pulled it back out and began feeding again. Sure enough, now it was growing in size after feeding AND it passed the float test. (The what? The float test. The dough should float in water when ready to be baked, a sign that the yeast is doing its thing.)  It’s pretty much a two day process to prep a loaf to be baked and I followed the steps apprehensively. It’s not the prettiest loaf in all the land but it was tasty. We just ate the last bit of it as garlic toast to accompany our zucchini noodle spaghetti last night.


Dave, who has kinda sorta been scoffing at the whole process and didn’t understand the big deal, made a grilled cheese with a couple slices. He then asked me when I would make the next loaf.  Husband convinced. Check. The answer to his question? As soon as I can find bread flour again. The grocery store has been out the last three trips.

We have continued to plug along outside with every nice day and have something to show for it. We completed one bed, complete with fabric and mulch. It’s lovely. It doesn’t make me anxious looking at it anymore because it’s not filled with weeds and there is some structure to it. I’ve now moved onto another section and sold another 35 clumps of hosta yesterday (to one woman who was tickled to stumble across such a treasure as she installs her own hosta garden).  Before and after —

Goodbye to the school year.

8 May

Today was my assigned day to head to Lincoln Elementary and pack up my things. There cannot be more than six people in the building at a time so everyone was given a day on a schedule. Today was my day.

I drove to school and parked closer than I ever have before.  I typically was one of the last to arrive at school on a given day since I didn’t start until 9:15; today I was one of three vehicles. I emptied the table of things I kept in the classroom I shared and, honestly, it was sad.IMG_8444

Truth be told, the week before schools were closed, I was waiting for spring break. My new position was good but the kiddos were challenging. I was more tired at night and the days were more stressful than before. I was oh-so-ready for spring break. But then we got the longest spring break ever – aka the end of the school year months early.  And it makes me sad that we’re not going back.

I don’t know what fall with hold for me or for education in general. Maybe I’ll be back. Maybe not.  We’ll see what summer brings.

In other news –

6 May

I keep plugging away at that darn sourdough starter. I baked one loaf of bread and it was delicious but the rise wasn’t there. So I keep feeding and hoping a beautiful loaf of bread is in my future. In the meantime, the discard (the starter left after you give a portion of it a feeding; basically flour and water) has made for some wonderful treats. Crackers, soft pretzels, and, most recently, English muffins. My favorite.

When we’re not outside, we’re painting. (Or I’m painting. Dave is actually still working too.) With this extra time at home, we decided to attack our sunroom. Like a painting ninja. Part of the walls are brick and just not a brick I love so we’re painting it white. It’s all primed and paint has begun but with the lovely weather lately, it’s been on the back burner. Perhaps this Friday – when the HIGH is 39 – gross – I’ll pick the paintbrush up again.

Emmett had to go to the vet for his annual shots. But of course it was a new vet. During social distancing. So we sat in the car while a tech nearly dragged him into the building, holding the baggie of cut-up string cheese as a bribing tool. Supposedly he was fine and sweet once inside. (I don’t entirely believe it.)

The rhubarb is ready! The rhubarb is ready! Before I came inside for the evening, I picked some, not knowing what I would make with it. I landed on this – baked rhubarb sticky pudding. It just came out of the oven and smells delish. I also plan on making this – rhubarb slush – when I can get to the store for the missing ingredients.

I’ve been having two weekly Zoom dates – one with the Dancing Bananas (my high school besties) and one with family on my mom’s side. We catch up on life and then we play games. We’ve played dice games and Jackbox Games. (Drawful and Quiplash are favorites.) Last week, with family, we tried bingo and this week, it will be Scattergories. (I just discovered this super awesome list generator in a school newsletter. I think it will be super fun!) This week, with the Dancing Bananas, it’s also costume night. I have 24 hours to figure that out …

We’re continuing to make friends with our neighbors, which truly is great. We’ve been hosting/attending driveway happy hours once or twice a week.  The newest neighbors just got engaged, heard I was a pastor, and asked me if I’d do the ceremony. (Not sure yet.) I delivered May Day baskets to everyone on the street (It’s short – only six houses including us.) with Smitten Kitchen’s confetti cookies inside. One neighbor went turkey hunting and delivered fresh turkey breasts. Another neighbor shared soup with homemade noodles. Dave set up a pinball machine in the garage so neighbors can play at a safe distance. (Hand sanitizer and disinfectant wipes nearby.)

And that, my friends, was the longest update ever. Hope you’re all staying healthy and sane.

Hosta frenzy.

6 May

When it’s lovely outside, like this past weekend, that’s where we are. Most lately, we’ve been attacking the hostas that threaten to take over.  This is serious, folks. They will take over if we don’t stop them. IMG_7813

(A photo from last June.) We have a crazy hosta yard. It’s totally beautiful … but also super weedy and a bit overgrown in spots. The long-time neighbor across the street estimates it’s been 8 – 10 years since these hostas have been split. They’re HUGE. One of our spring projects this year (with the gift of much more time at home) is to spruce up the beds. That means splitting, rearranging, landscape fabric, and mulch. As we go about this, we have hostas that need new homes – homes other than ours. A coworker came and took some but that wasn’t quite enough. So –

IMG_8434Last weekend, we began putting clumps of split hostas by the street and listed them on facebook marketplace. Dave built a little money drop box and attached it to our mailbox post. And, you know what, by the time our little roadside sale ended, we gather we sold approx. 77 clumps of hosta. And it’s just the beginning.  That’s from reworking maybe 1/4 of our hosta crop. Uffda. (The neighbor across the street – our insight to the past owners of the house – said that every couple years, this is exactly what the previous owner did. She split and she sold.)

Yesterday, we had six yards of mulch delivered. Yes. Six. Uffda again. I was outside this afternoon, putting down fabric and about to spread mulch when the seven year old from across the street rode his bike up our driveway. Can I see what you’re doing? Sure. I told him. He played frisbee with Emmett. And then he volunteered to help with the mulch. Free labor? Sure. Here’s a shovel, kid. I like gardening. Great. And while we worked he told me about how the world began and about the plant in his bedroom that he leaves a flashlight on for at night so it always has light.

We will keep plugging away, bit by bit. We do intend to add another small hosta garden, an orphanage if you will, for split plants that have no other home. And, in the meantime, if you need hostas, you know where to find them.

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